"... to say 'Nigger Jim' and the teacher’s tortured explanation that Twain’s 'nigger' didn’t really mean nigger, or meant it ironically, or historically, or symbolically. Whatever. I could live my whole life fine if I never read that book again. If some teachers have the audacity to believe that Mark Twain’s work is still meaningful, even absent the words 'nigger' and 'injun,' more power to them. If other teachers think keeping those epitaphs in is worth the pain they will cause students of color, I understand that too. This isn’t about censorship, it’s about choice. Either choice will have unfortunate consequences."
From the law professor's contribution to the series of essays in the NYT on an edition of "Huckleberry Finn" without the n-word. There are 11 essays total. (The lawprof is Paul Butler of George Washington University.)
I must say that I think there should be an edition with the offensive words removed. It's not as though the uncensored versions disappear as a result of its existence. If you think seeing those words is crucial to understanding the book, that's fine, but not everyone does, and there's also the opinion that it's detrimental, as Professor Butler explains very well. I think high school and middle school students are inclined to dislike anything you impose on them. They might be more interested in Mark Twain if they knew the teachers were pushing the censored version and an uncensored version is accessible — like porn — through the internet. Here, kids, you can get right to it, the instant you want.
UPDATE: "keeping those epitaphs in..." Hey, NYT! Can we get a word editor?!
UPDATE 2: The NYT heard my plea and corrected "epitaphs" to "epithets."